THE WEDNESDAY WHINGE has a new look but won’t be dispensing with the theme and focus on the THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY side of what is happening in racing. The Whinge will continue to provide an opportunity for The Cynics to Have Their Say. Thanks again for your support for the most read column on this website and one of the most read on racing websites in the country. Our popularity continues to grow despite the bagging it cops from some high profile officials, especially in Queensland, who cannot cope with constructive criticism of any kind. We encourage supporters – and critics – to continue to contribute but plan to restrict the Whinge to less than 10 of the best items each week. Our message to those who continually bag us is simple: IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT YOU READ, THEN DON’T REVISIT THE WHINGE.

 

‘IS THERE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN THE ROLE OF JOHN MESSARA’?

IAN McPHERSON of MELBOURNE sent this interesting email concerning Racing NSW boss JOHN MESSARA:

‘FOR obvious legal reasons I will keep this contribution short and sweet. The last thing I want is a legal threat from John Messara which seems to be par for the course when anyone dares to offer objective criticism of him.

But I want to commend Kate McClymont, one of Australia’s foremost investigative journalists and a Walkley Award winner, who works with Fairfax Media. She shows amazing courage in taking on high profile individuals that many colleagues would not dare to. Some of her exposes on horse racing have been outstanding.

The latest subject of a McClymont feature story has been powerful thoroughbred figure John Messara. Fortunately, Kate did not work for the Murdoch Media like Ken Callander who quit because of perceived interference in criticism of Racing NSW in columns he was writing for The Telegraph.

But back to the point of this email – and I raise the questions that have been on the lips of many too afraid to go public in the racing industry and these are:

Was there a major conflict of interest in the lead-up to It’s A Dundeel winning the richest race at The Championships last year?

Does John Messara command too much influence on behalf of breeders on what happens in Australian racing that some could say benefits that section of the industry?

And should there be an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the Matt Rudolph affair which saw him suffer a career-ending penalty at Racing NSW? Perhaps in a different forum he might like to comment on some of the events that led to his downfall.

Perhaps to make things clearer for those who missed it you might like to reproduce the investigative article by KATE McCLYMONT for FAIRFAX MEDIA that appeared earlier this month.

EDITOR’S NOTE: DELIGHTED to do so Ian. Here it is:

WHEN It's A Dundeel swept past the winning post to claim the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes – the richest race ever run on a Sydney track – the owners, who included John Messara and broadcaster Alan Jones, were jubilant.

But there were other industry figures who were deeply worried about how it would look: Mr Messara, the chairman of the racing industry's governing body, had not disclosed that he had obtained an option to buy race favorite It's A Dundeel while presiding over the decision to increase the prize money for that race from $500,000 to $4 million.

Nicknamed ‘The Messiah’ by wags in the racing industry, the 68-year-old Egyptian-born former stockbroker is a polarizing figure in the thoroughbred world. He is charismatic, driven and feared.

His power has been buttressed by his friendships in Macquarie Street and also by his friendship with Alan Jones, who has used his radio program to champion both the racing industry and the ambitions of his friend.

The triumph of It's A Dundeel, which was immediately retired to Mr Messara's stud, was not the first time concerns about Mr Messara's potential conflicts of interest had been raised.

When the Government appointed Mr Messara chairman of Racing NSW in December 2011, critics queried his suitability given his vested interest as a major breeder.

Decisions he makes as Chairman of Racing NSW have the potential to advantage the breeding industry and he just happens to own the Arrowfield Stud in the Hunter Valley, the country's biggest Australian-owned breeding operation.

In the past, those caught expressing concerns about Mr Messara's potential conflicts of interest have been threatened with legal action by the prominent breeder.

“All that I said was if Messara gets the job – will he act in the best interests of racing or the best interests of John Messara?” said one well-known industry figure on the receiving end of a Messara legal threat several years ago.

During the course of Fairfax Media's investigation, Mr Messara sent legal letters to a raft of people accusing them of making false and defamatory statements about him.

Adam Kilgour, chairman of the NSW Trainers’ Association, said he was ‘astounded’ to receive two legal letters accusing him of making defamatory statements about Mr Messara.

The letters also demanded Mr Kilgour provide details of other people who may have been defaming Mr Messara.

Mr Kilgour told Fairfax Media his role was to advocate the views of horse trainers, which often differed from Mr Messara's. “But last time I looked, it wasn't a criminal or civil offence to express an alternative point of view in Australia.”

“John is always welcome to come to a Trainers’ Association meeting to hear first-hand what trainers think of the industry he is responsible for,” said Mr Kilgour.

Back in November 2013, as head of the State's racing industry, Mr Messara announced the launch of ‘The Championships’.

The NSW Government had kicked in $10 million to make two days of racing during Sydney's autumn carnival among the most lucrative in the world.

Then Racing Minister George Souris told Fairfax Media he wanted the feature race for Sydney's autumn carnival to be worth $5 million ‘to blow the Melbourne Cup out of the water’.

Racing NSW decided the jewel in the crown of The Championships would be the 2000-metre Queen Elizabeth Stakes and that its prize money would skyrocket from $500,000 to $4 million.

Not everyone in the industry agreed with the choice.

“We thought it was ridiculous,” said one racing executive involved with the discussions. “Any punter or breeder will say fine to double or treble it but not to make it $4 million.”

The Australian Turf Club wanted the better-known Doncaster Mile to be the feature race but Mr Messara successfully argued that a 2000-metre weight-for-age race would appeal to international competitors.

In September 2013, two months before the unveiling of The Championships, Mr Messara negotiated an option to purchase a 30 per cent interest in It's a Dundeel after the horse's impressive win in the Underwood Stakes, bringing to an end Atlantic Jewel's nine-race winning streak.

The option was exercised in November and in December Arrowfield's syndicate took its ownership of the champion stayer to just under 75 per cent. The rumored cost was $10 million.

Asked if he should have declared his interest in one of the top prospects for the race when the prize money was being discussed, Mr Messara said, “No, not at all.”

“Conflict of interest is a state of mind, in my view,” he said. “I know … it looks like a Machiavellian plot, but it wasn't.”

“Anyone who understands racing knows that it is ridiculously speculative. There is no certainty. I didn't buy it and then say to myself, ‘I will win that race’.”

Mr Messara also said anyone could have bought the horse as it had been widely speculated in the industry that there was going to be a big injection of prize money into the 2014 autumn races.

“It's a Dundeel was going to be a contestant, but everyone in the world knew that,” he said.

But whether It's A Dundeel won the race or not, the fact such a huge amount of money was put into a staying race over 2000 metres would encourage breeders to use stallions proven over that distance, say insiders.

This would not just help market It's A Dundeel in his second career, as his previous big wins included races at 2000 and 2400 metres, but also two horses Arrowfield had recently invested in: Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and another American horse, Gio Ponte, which had won at the highest level over 2100 metres.

Mr Messara's potential conflict of interest in owning the race favorite had already seen tensions boil over in the days leading up to the running of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on April 19, 2014.

On Tuesday, April 15, It's a Dundeel drew barrier one, the closest to the rail. The following day racing stewards decided to move the rail another three metres because of the rain-affected track.

Lindsay Murphy, the Australian Turf Club's racecourse manager, was furious.

The rail had already been moved three metres and he argued that only in exceptional circumstances should the rail be moved again, especially after the barrier draw had been done and punters were betting on the race.

ATC boss Darren Pearce knew staff were upset about the second rail move but, after walking the heavy track with Chief Steward Ray Murrihy, he agreed with the stewards’ decision.

Mr Pearce rang Peter V'Landys, Mr Messara's right-hand man and the chief executive of Racing NSW. Mr Pearce relayed his staff's concerns that ‘everyone is going to say we did it for Messara’ and that Mr V'Landys might need to address this potentially damaging perception.

“No, he wasn't passing on any concerns to me,” said Mr V'Landys of the call. “He was being apologetic that someone would make such a reckless accusation.”

The ATC's general manager, Matt Rudolph was one of those concerned about the perception that It's A Dundeel had been given an advantage.

“I feel sick to the stomach – we are going to look compromised,” he told an associate.

Despite being advised by colleagues to let the matter go, he took the matter up with Mr Messara.

“There's already enough talk about your horse being the favorite for this race. It would be a very bad look if the rail is moved out further after the barrier draw,” warned Mr Rudolph.

“I remember that scuttlebutt after the rail had been moved. I knew nothing about it, nor should I have known anything about it,” said Mr Messara.

Mr Messara was not involved in the decision to move the rail and he told Mr Rudolph that.

Insiders say the relationship between Mr Rudolph and Mr Messara and Mr V'Landys was downhill from there. Mr Rudolph, who declined to comment for this story, is currently appealing a two-year disqualification by Racing NSW over an unrelated matter.

“He was meticulous about everything to do with this race,” said another racing official about Mr Messara's request for a specific stall at Randwick on race day.

As a stallion, It's a Dundeel was known to be temperamental and Mr Messara wanted to make sure he was stabled in the quietest area away from any potential distractions.

As it turned out, the highly-strung horse suffered a minor injury just before the race. On hearing this, part-owner broadcaster Alan Jones bolted down from the Directors’ Room to inspect him.

He need not have worried. It's A Dundeel, sporting Arrowfield's racing silks of gold and black diamonds, swept past the winning post to claim the world's richest 2000-metre turf race.

“We've been aiming for this all along,” said jubilant trainer Murray Baker.

As racegoers know only too well, racing is all about chance and luck and there was never any guarantee the horse would win.

But win he did. The Queen Elizabeth Stakes was his last race. It's A Dundeel, now known as Dundeel, was immediately retired to the lush pastures of Arrowfield.

His stud prospects were boosted by the massive increase in his winnings and he now generates around $3 million a year servicing mares.

 

‘WHY DIDN’T STEWARDS ASK TOUGHER QUESTIONS OF CHRIS WALLER?’

GREG BOWDEN of SYDNEY poses some interesting questions about the Lil Caesar sale controversy:

‘THE case involving the sale of Lil Caesar to Hong Kong and penalties imposed on media identity Richard Callander and Waller stable manager Liam Prior refuses to die.

It would seem that the outcome has thrown up more questions than answers.

Many in racing are asking why trainer Chris Waller was not questioned at the inquiry at length. There is also the prospect that some owners of Lil Caesar may take civil action against Callander and Prior in the wake of the inquiry outcome.

The main controversy emerging from the case is why Waller wasn’t asked by stewards at the official inquiry the following questions:

IF he wasn’t aware of the inflated sale price how can that be the case when the money was paid into a syndicate account which he is involved with?

WHY did he declare Lil Caesar had limited ability when jockey Glen Schofield recommended the horse for sale and especially since it has raced so well in Hong Kong? Was this simply an error of judgment on the part of the champion trainer?

AND how could Waller declare in a radio interview subsequent to the disqualification of Callander and Prior being handed down that: ‘They’ve been transparent all the way through’ when it is obvious that has not been the case.

These are issues that the Racing NSW stewards should be addressing to satisfy the ‘level playing field’ approach that stakeholders expect in the racing industry.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: SOME of the questions you posed Greg may have been addressed in this story in today’s HERALD SUN by MATT STEWART, which reads:

CHAMPION Sydney trainer Chris Waller has angrily ­denied rumors of hidden ­cobalt positives and involvement in the murky sale of a horse to Hong Kong.

And Australia’s leading trainer has the backing of Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy, who insists there is “not a skerrick of evidence, not one iota” that Waller had any knowledge of the inflated sale of horse Lil Caesar to a Hong Kong buyer in late 2014.

Murrihy said Waller had been interviewed over the sale and stewards “were more than comfortable that he had nothing to do with the sale of Lil Caesar, other than being the trainer of it and recommending it be sold, as he felt it had limited ability”.

Murrihy said no email or other communications produced as evidence connected Waller to any wrongdoing and that rumors of trainers using drugs were “a dime a dozen’’, adding all positive swab findings in NSW were “accountable and transparent’’.

Waller, who notched his 13th Group 1 for the season when Preferment won Saturday’s Australian Cup on protest, said he had become accustomed to rumor and ­innuendo, including that stewards possessed between four and 40 positive cobalt tests to his horses yet refused to reveal them “because of who I am’’.

“I run a successful, honest and clean stable,’’ he said. “I sleep at night with a clean conscience. I have nothing to hide. I just try to do the best by my horses, the best by my owners and the best by the punting public.’’

Waller said he was in Melbourne for the 2014 spring carnival when Richard Callander negotiated the sale of Lil Caesar, which the media identity part-owned. Waller’s racing manager, Liam Prior, was also involved, as was jockey Glyn Schofield as a go-between.

Racing NSW stewards last week disqualified Callander and Prior for six months for their role in the sale, in which the horse’s owners were told it had been sold for $140,000 ­instead of the $200,000 ­Callander received. Callander was fined $10,000 and Schofield $20,000.

Emails used in evidence ­revealed Waller had asked Callander on October 28, 2014, if there was “any idea on price yet?’’ and on November 14 ­received $129,405 via bank ­deposit from Callander to be passed on to the other part-owners. Waller said Lil Caesar had shown limited ability at the time. Racing as Lucky Year, he has since won four minor races in Hong Kong.

“As part of my license contract, I’m entitled to 10 per cent of any sale and I didn’t even ask for it with this horse, that’s how much I cared about the proceeds of the sale,’’ he said. “The horse had been beaten in two previous trials. He wasn’t a strong or robust horse.’’

 

‘A BIPARTISAN BOARD IS ABOUT THE ONLY HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF RQ’

ALBERT WILLIAMS of REDCLIFFE, a regular critic of racing in Queensland, makes some interesting observations on the QUEENSLAND RACING UNITY GROUP:

‘THE Queensland Racing Unity Group continues to work feverishly behind the scenes to bring political pressure to bear on the minority Labor Government to get the industry back on track.

This week QRUG petitioned Members of Parliament to ‘vote down’ the Queensland Racing Integrity Bill and with the support of ‘independents and the Katter Australian Party members’ they can certainly achieve this goal.

QRUG believes that ‘voting down the Bill gives the racing industry an opportunity to begin a deliberative and inclusive process that will lead to Queensland racing integrity and operating structure that has industry and bipartisan political support’.

They have also called on Racing Minister Grace Grace to appoint a temporary Board under the current Racing Act for a period of six months to allow the above process to be completed.

There is plenty of merit in what QRUG is suggesting, with a couple of provisos:

THEY must agree to change from the current Integrity set-up where the problems dogging the three codes have occurred on the watch of the current stewarding panels. Major changes are needed and tougher stances have to be taken on integrity issues with the need to separate that staff from the management arm of racing.

A BIPARTISAN BOARD could be the only solution to racing’s woes in Queensland. Since the dismantling of the QTC (which ruled with a my-way-or-the-highway mentality) every control body that has been appointed has failed because of perceived political affiliations. The only way it will work is if a bipartisan approach was taken to Board appointments. It wouldn’t hurt to lure a group of properly credentialed men and women, with the interests of racing at heart, from different political persuasions and force them to work together without any Government interference in the job the Board does or the appointment process.

AS for the establishment of a TEMPORARY BOARD that will only work if those appointed are independent of clubs and stakeholder organizations. If it is going to be made up of current club chairmen from the city and country then you might as well close up shop as it will just be a ‘back to the future’ enterprise leading to allegations of favoritism and pork-barreling.

The word is strong that Ian McCauley is keen to shed QRUG of any specific political affiliations and accepts that the only way that will work is through a bipartisan approach to all things racing which should be music to the ears of everyone interested in seeing the industry progress in Queensland.’

 

'FRAPPELL SHOULD CLEAN UP PROBLEMS IN HIS OWN BACKYARD FIRST’

STU WILLS’ of TOOWOOMBA makes a comeback contribution to the Wednesday Whinge:

‘WITH all due respects, there are times when some racing officials in Queensland should clean up their own backyard before advising others how to fix their problems.

From all reports the Toowoomba Turf Club has hardly been a success story since Bob Frappell took over as chairman compared to the days when Neville Stewart was running the show.

But now we have Mr Frappell providing a mouth-piece for those opposed to the Government’s proposed Racing Integrity Bill. Some of his claims are – in the opinion of many – just downright alarmist.

In a letter addressed to industry stakeholders, Mr Frappell has warned that: “a close examination reveals the powers in this bill give them (QRIC) more power than the Queensland Police Service and make the VLAD (Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment) laws look like a set of school rules”.

He goes on to say: “In basic terms the bill outlines a very broad disciplinary process that is wide open to abuse of powers giving the Integrity Commission the power to shut down not only the racing side of a club but its potential other revenue streams like bar and functions.”

Could you possibly imagine this being the intent of the new Integrity Commissioner or the new Integrity Unit, which is designed to clean up what is happening on the track in the three codes and to address animal welfare issues in the wake of the live baiting fiasco?

Mr Frappell throws up the scenario: “Imagine if these powers were in the hands of a vindictive revengeful megalomaniac that tried to force a club or stakeholder to do something to which they were philosophically opposed. We could have a situation that anyone that was opposed to a certain proposal would be victimized with no redress.”

Give us a break Bob. QRIC is to be headed by one of the most respected and high profile policemen in Queensland whose ethical standards are second to none. He is hardly going to target the closure of successful enterprises like Tattersalls or Gallopers Clubs. Nor is he likely to allow vindictive, revengeful or megalomanic behavior to occur under his watch. Might I suggest that what you are suggesting is an insult to this gentleman.

Rather than me defend the powers of the new Integrity Bill, I will leave it to Racing Minister Grace Grace who has refused to apologize for the strong integrity laws the State Government is attempting to introduce.’

 

‘RQ NEEDS TO CLARIFY IF TOOWOOMBA HAS RECEIVED ANOTHER HANDOUT’

AS I am a SENIOR OFFICIAL of a RACE CLUB in QUEENSLAND I would ask that my identity be with-held for obvious reasons:

‘THE industry rumor mill is in overdrive suggesting that the Toowoomba Turf Club has recently received or sought another six figure handout from Racing Queensland.

For the sake of the club and the stakeholders there needs to be some clarification on this issue from Racing Queensland or its CEO Ian Hall. The figure, if there is one, should also be declared.

That was only part of the reason for this ‘Whinge’. I noticed recently on your website where TTC Chairman Bob Frappell has given the new Integrity Bill a big ‘thumbs down’. He is entitled to his opinion but one would hope Bob isn’t doing some political points-scoring in the hope of securing a more important role in administration of the industry.

He has had plenty of experience as a high profile official of the Breeders’ Association and the Toowoomba Turf Club during which time he has managed to successfully deal with both sides of politics and RQ Board chairmen of different persuasions.

What concerns me more about his criticism of the powers of the new Integrity Unit is his opposition to sections which would give QRIC the power to ‘stop any vehicle anywhere for any reason whatsoever’ and ‘give the integrity staff the power to enter any place that has any connection to any part of the racing industry, even indirectly’. I won’t add the section ‘even if you are not at home’ because I believe that part is not acceptable but why have a problem with the rest?

One has to question why people with the racing background of Bob Frappell, who must know what has been going on behind the scenes on and off the track in racing not only in Queensland but other states (where it is being addressed with the strongest action) would want to oppose steps to overcome this major integrity problem.

There are some terrible stories doing the rounds about the Darling Downs and Toowoomba in particular, when it comes to the alleged distribution and use of prohibited substances. Surely Mr Frappell isn’t saying he doesn’t want to see any fence jumping by integrity staff to ensure that the industry is ‘clean’ in his own backyard.

You either want integrity in the three codes of racing or you don’t. Let’s face it, punter confidence in the Queensland product continues to nosedive. The current policing of the industry is simply not good enough. We need to keep in step with the southern states and adopt a more proactive approach to stewarding. Those making excuses for that not to happen need to answer the question: WHY?’

 

‘THIS WHOLE BOARD APPOINTMENT PROCESS HAS A SMELL ABOUT IT’

EDITOR'S NOTE on RQ BOARD appointments:

‘THE sooner the Government announces the make-up of the new Racing Queensland Board and a CEO the better.

Scuttlebutt continues with a prominent turf scribe late last week contacting a well known figure in one of the minor codes and congratulating him on his appointment to Chair the New Board.

This came as an utter surprise to the gentleman in question who shall remain nameless. As he told letsgohorseracing in an email:

‘Fuck me, I wasn’t even good enough to get an interview for the greyhound position on the Board. I told (the racing writer who called) that it wasn’t me.

‘I didn’t even apply when they called for fresh nominations and I had heard that the appointees would be those favored by the Labor Party because I don’t have any political affiliations. I would have preferred the appointments be made on an independent basis.’

From an industry perspective there needs to be some clarification as we keep getting told about these great candidates who applied for the Board and CEO role. Story goes that Ian Hall, the Interim CEO, is keen to stay on permanently. How well would that go over with the industry?

Another story doing the rounds is that Brad Steele, a former highly respected Harness Racing Board chairman who resigned from the All Codes Board amid the TAB deal controversy did not even get an interview when he reapplied for a position. How bad is that?

The whole appointment process is starting to get a real smell about it. It’s past time for Racing Minister Grace Grace to step up to the square and make some announcements – for better or worse!’

 

‘TWITTERSPHERE – A DANGEROUS AVENUE TO CRITICIZE OFFICIALDOM’

BOB LONERGAN of SUNSHINE COAST writes:

‘RACING participants continue to find themselves in strife over critical comments made on the Twittersphere – the latest victim being Wayne Pasterfield, the lawyer for media identity Richard Callander.

Pasterfield has been asked to appear before a sub-committee of the Racing NSW Board to show cause over social media comments he made about the reporting of the case.

He had used Twitter to condemn a newspaper report. Pasterfield questioned the motives for a photo of Callander appearing on the front page of the Daily Telegraph alongside the headline ‘Richie Rich’ after stewards called the media identity, Chris Waller's racing manager Liam Prior and top jockey Glyn Schofield to answer questions about the sale of the previously unraced Lil Caesar to Hong Kong.

Pasterfield went on to claim the story was blown out of proportion being on the front page of a major metropolitan newspaper while an article about more than 100 people being killed in Syrian bomb blasts appeared on page 16.

Callander had yet to be formally charged over the affair after appearing at the initial inquiry, which was open to the media. He and Prior were only days later charged with dishonest and/or fraudulent action over the dispersal of $60,000 of the proceeds of the Lil Caesar sale, which now races for Hong Kong interests.

"I was simply giving a legal opinion or comment about why a Racing NSW story would make the front page of the Telegraph and trying to point out that it was an act of subjudice by the Telegraph," Pasterfield told Fairfax Media.

"On Twitter you are restricted to 140 characters so some of the meaning may have become distorted during the editing down and Racing NSW has misinterpreted this to me having a crack at them. I am sure this misunderstanding can be easily explained so I intend to go in there to tell the truth and move on and enjoy the rest of the [autumn] carnival. They are well within their rights to ask me for a 'please explain' and that's what I will do.

"With their integrity beyond question I know I will get a fair hearing and being a lawyer admitted to the High Court of Australia I am sure they will accept my explanation."

As Adam Pengilly reported for Fairfax Media the Pasterfield case is again likely to bring the issue of social media use in racing to the fore as governing bodies clamp down on its perceived misuse by registered persons.’

 

MICK GURN WAS WAY AHEAD OF HIS TIME WHEN TALKING OF INTEGRITY UNIT

TALK about Groundhog Day – in late March 2012 the following email from MICK GURN of  PITTSWORTH was run in the WEDNESDAY WHINGE concerning a Racing Integrity Squad for Queensland:

‘HAVING resigned as a Detective Sergeant from the Queensland Police Force in the 70’s,  a Justice of the Peace and 25 years experience training racehorses I think I have sufficient knowledge to offer some advice to Government on the formation of the proposed Integrity Squad for the three codes of Racing.

The Squad would in fact be Racing Police or RPs.  The RPs would need a Director, two active zealous investigators for each of the three codes initially and a person qualified in legal matters pertaining to criminal activity. Integrity in Racing refers to combating crimes in racing whether they be major or minor offences as apart from racing wrongdoings by everyday participants in the Industry such as Jockeys, Trainers, Stablehands etc.  They should be offered permanent employment and should not be current members of the Queensland Police Force, who in the pursuit of their careers would apply for promotion and transfers and consequently leave the Squad which would be detrimental to the effectiveness of Squad’s work.

The Squad would be highly mobile with a State wide ambit and be outside the direction of Racing Queensland or the equivalent body proposed to take over.  The Squad would be answerable only to the current Minister for Racing.  They would inform him of what they had done in the course of their work and not necessarily of what they are going to do.  In other words an autonomous body but whose members must have an unblemished history of honesty and personal integrity before being eligible for appointment to the Squad. The Squad would be outside the direction or overseeing of the CMC, whose actions seem to the general public to have hamstrung Police work for diligent Police Officers in some cases and made some hesitant to act.

One of the first steps would be to set up a telephone Hot Line similar to Crime Stoppers to receive information and complaints from members of the Public concerning racing matters in the three codes.  The legal officer referred to could man that phone link from the Public.

Importantly the Budget for this Squad would have to come from separate Government funding and not from the Budget of the Racing body in control as that body would then have a measure of control over the activities of the Squad which would be unhealthy.  However the Squad would work in close cooperation with the regular Racing Stewards.

Housing the Squad should be in a secure building and not part of the Racing control body building for security reasons.  This Squad would be dealing with everyday rorts by amateur and professional criminals and Mafia type bodies in some instances.  The Squad would also need to be appointed as Racing Stewards in order to carry out their duties in respect to Licensees and Bookmakers and other Racing related people.  Although it may be considered a step too far it may be necessary before persons are granted a License in any of three codes to forego their rights as citizens with respect to body searches and property search in public or private.  This measure although extreme on the face of it would not hold any fears for Licensees who had nothing to hide and only those whose activities were dishonest would most likely object.

The Squad would need to have at their disposal all the modern technical devices available such as tape recorders, video capability etc to operate effectively. They would need to carry out their investigations to comply with evidential criteria for use in court and whose work the legal officer of the Squad would be available to give advice on.

These outlined steps would be a basis for forming an effective Racing Integrity Squad in my opinion.  I have been advised that my suggested ideas of how to form an effective Racing Integrity Unit are not dissimilar to some of the initiatives in place in Hong Kong which is probably the most stringent and effective Racing Scrutiny Unit in existence and probably the best administrative body in Racing.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: IT would seem that someone was listening to what Mick had to say, even if it took almost four years and a change of Government to get their act together.

 

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the above e-mails should not be interpreted as those of JOHN LINGARD, the owner-editor of the letsgohorseracing web-site. That is why he has added an ‘EDITOR’S NOTE’. Every endeavor is made to verify the authenticity of contributors. We welcome any reasonable and constructive responses from parties or individuals.

Join Us on Facebook

Racing News

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

 

Getaway & Go Racing &
Day at the Races FREE Ratings
BN: 55127167

Login Form